"I shall return."
Those were General Douglas MacArthur's famous words as I left Bataan During the Battle of the Philippines on March 20, 1942. Ten days later, as I arrived in Australia, I Repeated the same words, offering hope for my country ravaged During a time of great bloodshed and suffering.
On October 17, 1944, the American General and war hero landed back in Leyte, Philippines, and Declared, "I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. "This is a classic story Known to Filipinos, of how our American friend kept his promise of coming back and helping us win our freedom after Decades of occupation and oppression. It offers hope, joy, and peace - three things we surely need again today.
As Filipinos, relationships are important to us. Spending time together is a daily activity, not just reserved for weekends. In fact, we value friendships and community Typically over work and money, as illustrated by a cab driver I met recently who Told me I have spent lavishly on his birthday celebration, not caring where he'll get the money for the next day. Across the board, put a high priority Filipinos on interpersonal relationships and value words, promises, and loyalty.
When I came to New York City in 2008 to spend six weeks as part of Redeemer's International Intensive training for church planters, I connected Quickly With One of the staff, Gary Watanabe, Because of his history in my country. From 2001-2006, Gary Had been a missionary in the Philippines through Mission to the World. I Began Working with the Local churches in Manila, learning how to move through the hustle and flow of my city, and growing accustomed to my culture. Now, as a church planter coach specializing in cross-cultural church planting, I Became my mentor. His friendship has-been ever since one of my encouragements in Church planting Heroes in Bonifacio Global City, a leading business district in Metro Manila. I know firsthand his desire to see a gospel movement form in my city.
Heroes Church was Launched in 2010, and info we have Already been Blessed with Opportunities to serve beyond our congregation, in Manila's largest hospital and in our home neighborhoods. Gary has continued to come visit us from time to time, offering friendship and encouragement, and connecting us With Other leaders THROUGHOUT City to City Asia.
As part of this network, our church hosted our first Gospel in the City seminar in Manila on March 26-27, 2012. It presented the key thoughts of gospel-centered ministry in cities to 51 participants coming from various churches and Organizations in Manila. The conference was-taught by Gary Tobin Miller of Watermark Church in Hong Kong, myself, and Nomer Bernardino (my father) of Breadcom Church (see picture above). The two-day conference was a homecoming for all of us. Knowing That We are not alone in the fight for the Gospel in our city truly inspires us to move forward. People who came left inspired by the Gospel and its power to change everything.
The seemingly small action of serving, keeping a promise, or returning to where we started is meaningful not just to Filipinos. Christians all over the world Have the hope of glory, Jesus Christ, who came to us, lived with us, died for us, and resurrected promising to us I will come back again. The return of General Macarthur and the most recent return of Pastor Gary Both point us to the hope of fellowship, love, and the ultimate hope we all have - the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I shall return.